#dojocon2013 Slane Castle

What a Great CoderDojo conference in Slane castle!

The theme of the 2013 event was to encourage more mentors and encourage collaboration and exchange of ideas: “There are over 180 coding clubs over the world. We’ve come through an amazing growth phase with CoderDojo – it’s really met a need out there. To make it sustainable, we need to share what works, while keeping the buzz that has made it so successful.” said organiser Paul @EI_PBrowne. Organised by Graham @coderdojodrog @ann_donnelly & the Science Gallery, Slane castle was donated for the day by Lord Henry Mountcharles. Coding is the new rock & roll !

MC for the day was the inspiring @unafox from the Venicebeach Dojo in LA. She runs the Disney online business & gave some great tips for girl coders, such as starting out with Scratch & not html which we had been doing, so will be trying that next Tuesday.

Now, what about having the co-founder of arduino.cc and Github’s @cameronmcefee in the same room? The Arduino is amazing and looks simple to setup so we’ll be adding that to our science stream. The Raspberry Pi is still in it’s box though… Cameron announced that all Dojo’s get a free Github.com account so that’s an offer not to miss! See his talk “A roadmap to help the CoderDojo organization, the dojos, the mentors and the students work better together”

Old hands were to be found at the conference too like the ex-boss of the IDA, Padraic White and Chris Horn, he of ex-Iona Technologies. These are guys who can help Coderdojo in more ways than you can imagine.

James @hwf told us about his new Hello World project and it’s so great to see people like @eugenemcd & @karenboconnell from the Limerick dojo joining them too. You are lucky to have them James!
ps A nuance in James’ talk worth repeating: [paraphrased] That coderdojo does not mean everyone will turn into a programmer; rather that Doctors who can code, Teachers who can code & Artists who can code will create innovations we can barely imagine today.

Rebecca @geekgirlweb from the NY Dojo spoke about their Codergirl initiatives along with @karenboconnell on their Coderdojo divas. Their next Codergirl mentor session is on May 26 so make sure to join their G+ hangout for that. [slides]

We also finally got to learn that Bill pronounces his surname as “lee-ow”. In an interview with the sparky @unafox Bill told us how homelearning influenced the Coderdojo setup. He also touched on the Japanese teaching method of the deliberate mistake. The deliberate mistake will illuminate the right way to do things; try it at your next dojo! ps One of the debugging tricks we teach at the Dingle Dojo is to read your code backwards. Our brains are wired to skip words when we read from left to right!

Jerry Kennelly of @livetweak from Kerry talked about his own efforts to drive entrepreneurship in Kerry schools with more than 5,000 students having graduated from the programme -an outstanding result. He also talked about how we need to foster creating technology, not just being a consumer of it. That theme trended throughout the day which happens to be the founding mantra of the Dingle dojo, along with “Why not the next skype from Dingle, Donegal or Drogheda?”

Jerry also talked about the coder shortage in Ireland and that @livetweak most of the coders & designers are not Irish. “the Limerick Collison brothers” he said “who are doing gangbusters with @stripe in the US, should not be outliers”. Jerry went on to say that the Leaving cert was a points race, a point echoed by @unafox that coding is not taught in schools, either in the US or Ireland. Many at the conference commented that learning word processing is not coding. So it seems we’ve replaced the “computers in schools problem” with a new “not using them for coding problem”.

Video: Jerry Kennelly alerts parents to the fact that the balance between their children as digital creators vs digital consumers is in their hands and how Coderdojo helps.

Surprise of the day for the Dingle dojo was to meet another Dingle native @rangerose who is currently on loan to Galway NUIG as a lecturer. She’s got quite an impressive CV and hopefully will help us out on matters as Gaeilge here at Dingle dojo.

We missed @speediecelt who runs the computer science museum in Galway. We donated an old IBM AS/400 computer a few years ago and wanted to know how it liked it’s new home!

We told a few folks about the Quickdojo app which went down well. One coder typed the phpinfo(); function into it & was quite surprised at what it produced ! ps A blank page produces another interesting result…

When visiting Dingle next make sure you contacts us @dingledojo if you want to do a guest lecture!

Posted in Dingle CoderDojo